The young female driver was very apologetic; said her dad and brother were both bikers, she used to ride a 125 and she would be telling her insurers the collision was her fault.
We exchanged details and her dad called me with the policy number, saying much the same thing and that his daughter had reported the claim in as her fault. It should be noted this was on a day we had a cold snap and unexpected icy spell.
The insurer has been in touch and said it is denying liability on the grounds that; “Our insured skidded on black ice, something which happened without negligence on her part and whilst we are of course sorry your car [ahem, motorcycle] was damaged, in the circumstances you will have to refer this matter to your fully comprehensive insurers.” I am sure the girl did slide on black ice but surely she cannot run into my bike, say “sorry, black ice” and get away with it?
I had nothing more than a slightly sore back for a day or two and I really cannot be bothered with an injury claim. This bike is third-party insured.
I don’t think the girl is trying to get away with anything. It is her insurer which is a little rascal for refusing sound claims. It is a numbers game; if it rejects 100 claims, maybe five will accept its “no”.
Your bike, thankfully, had pretty modest damage but your before and after photos of your old dual-sport, which I happen to know is worth about £3000 for a clean one, clearly has scuffing and crushing on the pipes, fuel tank, engine casings, bark busters and bent bars. You reckon £800 in parts you’ll fit and I reckon you are about right.
This might be a justifiable defence if there was a sudden slippery surface – say she had slid on unexpected, spilled diesel but the general rule is this; a driver must be able to stop for reasonable hazards and drive to the conditions.
Your post-crash photos show an attractive part of the Cotswolds with a thick frost on the trees, bystanders with breath clouding in the air and everyone wearing puffer jackets. It was evidently cold; therefore, black ice was a risk.
I ride in most weathers, but I would not have gone out on rural roads on a day like that; you did though and you didn’t crash. So this idea that black ice was an unforeseeable risk this young woman did not have to guard against is utter cobblers. This insurance company, which specialises in high-risk young drivers, is a pain in the backside.
It always does this; come up with some garbage and hope you will go away. Usually it withdraws from its position once your own insurers get involved but you do not have that luxury, so I suggest you use this letter as a basis for telling them where to go.
If that does not work, you will need to sue both the honest and apologetic young woman and her dodgy insurers in the small claims court, at which point (if they have not already) these insurers will fold. By the way, get a repair quote for the bits as fitted – the measure of damages is not just parts; it is parts and fitting and your bike is rideable with the bars changed so change those out.
Don’t get involved with an accident management company who will hire you a crappy bike for £120 a day, which you are liable for especially as you have your Fazer to use and create you a massive hassle later on down the line as their hire charges outstrip the value of your bike and you lose your green-lane bike – for months as the accident management company messes about at £120 per day with you losing your spring green laning. It has every interest to delay your bike being repaired – especially with £25 a day bike storage being added to the hire bike.
You are much better off doing running repairs on a rideable bike.
RiDE Magazine – March 2022